Returning to first principles…

Greg L. Turnquist
3 min readApr 15, 2024

Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard more than one person, from very different places, mention “getting back to first principles.”

First principles are axioms that we pin stuff to. Another way is to look at what your values are, and what flows from that.

As a pro coder, it’s easy to get sucked into processes, tools, concepts, and philosophies written by others. I mean come on, we can’t build this stuff all by ourselves. We need help! We need IDEs, compilers, frameworks, books, strategies, ticketing, tools, and gobs of other stuff to do this. So yes, we need others to help or nothing is happening.

But it’s also good, every now and then, to double check what we’re doing and compare it against our own values. One of the things I’ve reexamined multiple times is continuous integration. If you caught the latest episode of the Pro Coder Show, I went into detail about how I kind of sort of INVENTED continuous integration as one of my first assignments in my career.

But not really.

Let me put it like this…I spotted the value of building our system on a recurring nightly cycle in order to detect when errors would creep into the system. And that was useful. VERY useful.

And that fundamental idea has become a first principle to me.

Having joined the Spring team in 2010, I later became a part of its Spring Data department in 2017 and within a year’s time, took over as the manager of all their CI pipelines. I began…



Greg L. Turnquist

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